The world of high fashion is a seasonal beast, and sometimes it is confusing where you are on the annual style calendar.
Right now the boutiques are just starting to stock the Fall/Winter 2012 lines that were promoted back in the January shows in Milan, and I’ve already purchased a couple of nice pieces.
Meanwhile in Paris, the Armani Privé Fall/Winter 2012 collection is wowing the collected celebrities. Armani Privé is a subject I will write about again in the future; it’s the top of the top end, but is largely irrelevant for men unless you are a Cate Blanchett fan (I am).
But also in my inbox are invitiations to live views of the runways for the following season, which is Spring/Summer 2013, next year. Here’s the advanced invitation from the Italian email:-
This mix of seasons can be quite confusing as what’s actually in the shops bears little relation to what you are currently seeing on the screen.
In fact that offset is a little odd; if you think about other commercial organizations, they want you to see something in an advertisement and go and buy it now. But with fashion you have to wait 3-4 months before you can acquire what you saw, if you can even remember what it was.
Fashion houses of course are using shows to pre-sell collections to commercial buyers; the movie stars and former models in the front rows are not the target audience for these shows, they are the bait. The big fish are the guys who will order 10,000 pieces for Barney’s, Saks or Niemann Marcus. And of course they need to make those orders in advance of when they will be stocked, so they can be produced and delivered in time for the season.
How much of that actually needs to happen when you own all the boutiques yourself, as with Giorgio Armani? In this case it is probably just a marketing exercise, aligning with the industry cycle and getting lots of publicity for the brand, regardless of the season.
I can’t say that I have found one specific garment in any publicity and gone looking for that one piece. I’m already a buyer: I just need reminding there is some new stuff out there, time to go and check it out. And that’s what these shows do, remind us to go and look, and find something new to buy.